Running the Christmas Tree Gauntlet

Dear DOT Commissioner Santa-Khan,

All I want for Christmas next year is a new set of rules encouraging tree vendors to set up shop on the street in curbside parking space rather than jamming up New York City’s crowded, holiday-season sidewalks.



 Photo: Lars Klove, Sixth Avenue and 13th Street, Manhattan.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Don’t forget the public parks where the vendors set up, we really need that.

  • flp

    YES – on street curbside space!!! it would make the air so much better for us bikers that is if you can stand that pine smell!

  • Aaron,

    and christams trees are only two weeks of the year!
    what about mile high piles of garbage on sidewalk? In Europe , there are mini parking spots in front of building reserved for garbage .
    This gives back the full sidewalk to pedestrians, and makes the pickup of garbage more efficient since the garbage is regrouped in piles and the sanitation employees have less stops and less distance to go.
    The containers are standardized in plastic cans ( quieter) on wheels ( easier to move)which makes it faster to load and unload.

    If this policy was adopted , we would immediatley increase pedestrian space by 30%, not to mention reduction in nauseating encounters by 100% .

  • It’s safer to have these vendors on the sidewalk than in the street. Besides it, they only do it for a few weeks, so what’s the fuss?


    It’s the principle of the thing.

    “We must maximize the throughput and storage of motorized vehicles regardless of the consequences. Pedestrians? Let them deal with the clutter. If they were worth anything they’d be in a car anyway.”

  • BicyclesOnly

    The elimination of sidewalk space to make way for holiday vendors is a serious issue. Check out how little space is left on Columbus Circle for pedestrians following installation of the peddlers’ village:

    #4, often the sidewalks are so choked with commercial activity that the pedestrians end up in the street, where they face enhanced danger from the holiday traffic. There are loads of people unused to New York City and enraged by the stop-and-go traffic that seem completely oblivious to the danger that a sudden acceleration, lane change, or throwing open of the door without looking pose to others. The stunts pulled by cab drivers and would-be fares (drag races between cabbies to get to fares, triple parking, embarking/disembarking in the middle lane of a 5-lane avenue) add to the danger. I’m very grateful to the new DoT for refusing to extend the traffic hours in Central Park this year, but the situation on the grid is horrible and it is encouraged by the policy of giving vendors space from the sidewalks, plazas and parks rather than from the roadway. The vendors are professionals, they can bear the burden of taking the steps necessary to keep themselves safe in the parking lane more easily than the rest of us who must venture out into the roadway without protection unless we have time to shuffle through the throngs of bovine tourists clogging the sidewalks pinchpoints.

  • Tom Robbins

    Anti-Christmas whiners.
    Probably anti-Christ, too.

  • BicyclesOnly

    That’s THE anti-Christ, to you. Tell me, what would Jesus buy at the Columbus Circle shoppers’ village? Maybe the Rev. Billy can tell us.

  • The Christmas Tree crowded sidewalks do smell great though.

    It least no one is strenuously objecting to Christmas Trees yet. Where secular progressives try to stop Christmas in little phony ways, Sharia would totally stamp it out…

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    don’t mention Christmas

    keep it out of the schools
    some religions are OK

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    punish small children

    for celebrating Christmas
    hide liberalism’s roots

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe hates
    hearing MERRY HOLIDAYS

    possibly the atheists have doubts
    about their lack of faith

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    vilify Christians

    they are not all terrorists
    but most terrorists are them


  • JF

    Nice troll, USpace. At least one root of secular liberalism is in the Iroquois Confederacy. Another is in Buddhism. The only thing I like about Christmas is that it has so little to do with Christianity.

  • Apparently one Christmas tree vendor on Houston and Ave. A is using Brandie Bailey’s ghost bike memorial as a place to set up their Christmas trees. There are trees resting on top of and leaning in front of her memorial.

  • Hilary

    I consider the trees to be an extension of the farmers’ markets, which in my neighborhood are on sidewalks that have been widened for the purpose. Both support local agriculture and thus preservation of those landscapes. I’d like to have more, not less, of “farm-to-market” uses of our public spaces. Instead of forcing them into the street, expand the sidewalk. I love to walk between the banks of balsam firs. I also love the collection of the trees by the Parks department later to make mulch to distribute to our community gardens.

    Also, don’t discount the fact that everyone who buys a tree off the sidewalk is one less person driving who knows where.

  • DOT Commissioner

    OK, Hilary.

    Rather than just moving the tree vendors a few feet off the curb in crowded areas we will take your suggestion and implement tens of millions of dollars worth of sidewalk expansions and capital projects before next Christmas.


    1. Even if the tree vendors were moved over a few feet, wouldn’t you still be walking between the banks of balsam firs just with, you know, more space to walk?

    2. How would moving the trees over a few feet change increase the number of tree shoppers “driving who knows where?” If anything, it seems you’d have less driving because you’d have less parking space.

    3. If the tree vendors were occupying parking space rather than sidewalk space why would they suddenly not be “an extension of farmers markets” and supporting local ag?

    If anything, giving the vendors street space would be an expansion of local farmers markets and an expression of even more support for trees and vendors and whatnot.

  • Douglas Fir

    Sidewalk space is sacrificed willy nilly. Time to invert ye olde paradigm and sacrifice a little parking instead of always sidewalks.
    Off the sidewalk >>>>>>>>> Into the street
    Christmas trees
    magazine kiosks
    bus stops
    hotdog vendors
    junk vendors
    crap vendors
    plastic boxes of crap, Donald Trump brochures
    Law and Order tables, tents, cables, crap
    Feature film crap
    barriers, planters, post 9/11 crap

  • Hilary

    I was responding to the general grinchiness of the posters who seem to want to get rid of the tree sales altogether. Of course conversion of streetspace is good (both for the ambience and to reduce driving). I was simply admiring the permanence that the widened sidewalk represents, and look forward to even more of them.

    My question is:

    Are you really the DOT commissioner?
    If so, how do you do!

  • hmph

    tree sellers an extension of/similar to farmer’s markets??? BALONEY!!!!

    the tree seller organizers/head honchos (the few of them it appears) are total crooks who care NOTHING about the local community! farmer’s markets are a completely different thing! also their trucks are among the biggest hogs and most reckless drivers on the streets! i have had more than one close call with ’em on my bike.

    the village voice recently featured an article on the shady dealings of the tree sellers. unfortunately, i cannot find a link.

  • Hilary

    See? Grinches!

  • hmph

    so, hilary, do you want us all to “toe the line” and cheerily applaud all that is associated with christmas since it is only a “mere,” oh, 28 days out of the year?

    bah humbug! i’d rather be a grinch in that regard! besides, doesn’t so much of this holiday nonense contribute to global warming with all the excess lighting, production, packaging (wrapping too), etc?


    BTW, i and some others were not advocating getting rid of tree sales altogether!! we merely want the business moved off the sidewalk. however, since you bring it up, getting rid of christmas sales is not an entirely bad idea actually.

  • Touche JF, well done! Christmas Trees do smell good though. Also, their sales help to drive the global economy. All goods and services related to all holidays in all religions all over the planet make up a large chunk of total spending; without which there would be massive unemployment. Possibly the world’s people will someday gradually , one person at a time, ween itself from so much spending. That’s the only way the world economies could adjust.

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    make religion illegal

    destroy holiday shopping
    KILL the world economy

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    NO religious holidays

    will ever be observed
    the economy must shrink

  • I challenge anyone to get a pack of dogs through one of these narrow xmas tree alleys with anyone lifting a leg.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    yes – Please use curbside Parking to store and sell Christmas trees !!


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